Inside Times2

19th June 2018

Fair Shares are working in 5 prisons in the South West to deliver Times2 maths mentoring and / or time banking opportunities for offenders.

Improving numeracy and maths skills has been shown to reduce future chances of re-offending and there are many people in prison who benefit from support with Maths.

Times2 provides offenders with the opportunity to learn Maths with one to one support from a mentor, at their own pace and in an agreed location. Most sessions take place at evenings and weekends on the wing, when mentors and learners aren’t involved in training, education or work.  We aim to encourage many of our learners into education courses when they are ready to take that step but we also realise that some people want to learn specific mathematics to help them with their career on the outside. Our mentors have supported plumbers, builders and roofers to brush up on maths skills that will help these people run more cost effective businesses on the outside.

Our mentors are fellow offenders who volunteer their free time to support other prisoners. We know that this scheme benefits both the learners and the mentors .  Learners tell us that their maths skills improve with the support they get from Times2 but also their self-esteem and confidence. Mentors also report that being with Times2 can improve their confidence as they realise that the skills they have can be used to benefit other people.  They often comment on how joining Times2 has got them out of their cells and more involved with other people and activities in the prison.

Mentors and learners have discussed how being involved with the project can improve ties with family. We have had learners who have used, or plan to use, their new maths skills to help with their children’s homework.  One of our mentors reported that he was told by his son, who is also involved in education, that he was proud of his father for being involved in the scheme and helping others. Doing something that makes you feel proud of yourself is important in prison and being involved with Times2 enables people to do that whilst learning new skills.

Outside Effects

Because we are a time bank, we are always interested in making the best use of the time people spend helping others by ensuring that we enable people to give AND receive help and support as much as possible. We do this in prison by recording all the hours that the mentors spending teaching; these ‘banked’ hours can then be used by our mentors to help their own family if they live near a time bank on the outside, to help the mentor after release or donated to a ‘goodwill pot’. Hours from this goodwill pot allow us to spend time supporting those who need our help but for whatever reason are unable to help others.

Recently our staff member Rich and his team of volunteers helped one man with dementia by clearing away a horse box’s amount of things that had accumulated in his garden. This tip run left the back garden a better, safer space. Our van was lent to the mother of a prisoner so that the belongings of another family member could be transported to a safe storage point. We’ve also used the hours in the prison good will pot to help a local community council by repainting two telephone boxes. One will be used as an information point and the other will become a book sharing facility.


Support our work.

Help us to continue supporting offenders as they increase their confidence and learn essential math skills. Your donations can help us fund necessary equipment as well as time broker support for redeeming the hours they gain.

Check out Ways to Donate.

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